An Art Walk On Wheels
Sparx City Hop Connects Visitors to Art Districts & Neighborhoods for FreeLexi Hotchkiss
The New York Times claims that "Culture Blooms in Cleveland." Travel + Leisure named it one of the country's most cultured cities. USA Today even lauds our city's arts and cultural scene.
Yadda, yadda, yadda. Right? I mean, you kind of have to see it to believe it.
While neighborhoods like University Circle often get most of the city's cred for it's unexpected throng of arts & cultural gems (and deservedly so), many aren't aware that Cleveland boasts quite an indie art scene chock full of artist-run galleries, retro crafting fairs, small boutiques, local artisans, artist lofts and even restaurants and hotels displaying entire art collections. These artsy localities are often the anchors to emerging neighborhoods and districts.
So, where to begin?
The Downtown Cleveland Alliance, in conjunction with Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, is hosting the 13th Annual Sparx City Hop Sept. 19 from 11am - 6pm. In short, it's a FREE one-day event in which you can take trolley lines to art-centric districts and neighborhoods around the city.
How Does It Work?
"Sparx City Hop in downtown Cleveland is an arts and culture event . . . where Clevelanders can take three different trolley lines around downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods to experience the arts and culture within our neighborhoods," Meghan Tinker, spokesperson from Downtown Cleveland Alliance, said.
It's basically like a whole bunch of mini art walks connected by way of a free trolley system.
Visitors can board one of three trolley lines to be taken to various parts of the city where arts and culture is all the rage. At each of the 11 stops, you'll be met with on-site entertainment, sidewalk sales, festivals, art on display and even music and special offers inside restaurants and retail locations.
Where Do The Trolleys Go?
All trolleys start and stop at the Main Hub, which is located at the always-bustling Playhouse Square neighborhood. Then, you can board one of three trolley lines:
- Red Line: This line will take you to the eclectic art-filled and foodie-centric neighborhood of Tremont. Here you'll not only be met with three unique stops (Lincoln Park, Lucky Park and Professor Avenue), but you'll also get the opportunity to experience the Tremont Arts & Cultural Festival.
- Green Line: Head on over to Cleveland's near west side and parts of downtown aboard the Green Line, which makes stops at Market Square Park (Ohio City), Transformer Station (Hingetown) and the 5th Street Arcades (Downtown).
- Blue Line: New this year, the Blue Line takes riders to the Superior Arts District, Campus District and Asiatown with two stops at the Tower Press Building and the ArtCraft Building.
What Are Some of the Highlights?
The Tremont Arts & Cultural Festival, one of the most sizable arts festivals in the city of Cleveland, will kick-off it's first day of festivities during Sparx City Hop. Take the Red Line down to Lincoln Park in Tremont where you'll be met with fine art, sculpture, and jewelry, children's activities and programs, food booths, musicians and performers. This event, alone, takes Sparx to a whole new level.
"One of the new things this year is the Blue Line, which goes into the Campus District and Superior Arts District. It's on Superior Avenue between East 18th and East 25st Streets that they're having PARK(ing) Day. It's an event in which local artists, designers and organizations turn parking spots into temporary public parks. There'll be a lot going on over there with artists, pop-up retail and food trucks," Tinker said.
Is There Live Entertainment?
An art walk without a little entertainment would practically be blasphemy. The Downtown Cleveland Alliance booked 27 bands, musicians and dance troupes to perform at various time intervals at all nine trolley stops.
Expect performances by the likes of Humble G Tha Fiddla, a rapping hip hop violinist, who you'll find at the Main Hub. Or, take in the contemporary dance provided by Inlet Dance Theatre's Trainee and Apprentice Program at the 5th Street Arcades.
To get the 411 on this hugely popular event, which draws in access of 20,000 people, visit www.downtowncleveland.com/sparx.